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I bought a new Ford Focus 2012 and this is my first car and I would like to take good care of it. I live in an apartment and park my car out on the street for now. I've never done detailing, washing or caring for cars before so bear with me.

What are the basics that I need to do/have to maintain the looks and cleanliness of my car? vacuum cleaner? shampoo?

I have read great things about waxing and sealants but I don't have a driveway where I can wash my car so is there a way I can do this?

I did buy RainX windshield cleaner for now and would like to buy a few more things.

Thanks in advance.
 

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well sounds like you will need to do the touchless car washes... then do the wax and sealants and polishes in the shade at your apartment (if they allow it) parks are also good if there is shade.... all you really need for those are the wax/sealant/polish and the pads and microfiber cloths... you can still do it with out a driveway... jsut will be a bit more painful and hard...
 

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well sounds like you will need to do the touchless car washes... then do the wax and sealants and polishes in the shade at your apartment (if they allow it) parks are also good if there is shade.... all you really need for those are the wax/sealant/polish and the pads and microfiber cloths... you can still do it with out a driveway... jsut will be a bit more painful and hard...
thanks
hmm... how do i find these touchless washes? The one I've gone to the last 2 times is with brushes. Looks like I'll have to sneak my car into the building's garage and then do the waxing and stuff.

I went on a 200mi trip last weekend and on the way back, i think, a lot of bugs/stuff got stuck on my mirrors, windshield and all. What's the best way to clean these. I'm scared of scratching them off with my nails
 

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Arm and Hammer Baking Soda on a wet soft sponge will usually take bugs off. You can also buy bug and tar remover at the autoparts store; I think mine is made by Turtlewax. Touchless washes generally advertize as such. A selfserve wand wash works well, especially if you take a wash mitt and a bucket with you. NEVER use dishwashing soap, etc. it strips the wax and leaves the car dull. Just bring enough quarters for at least two cycles and go when there's no line so noboby complains about you hogging the booth. I say mitt, I think the wooly mitts or wash things are better than a sponge and less likely to scratch. Feed it money, soap it up, spray some in the bucket; when it stops, go over it with the mitt, then feed it more money and rinse. Skip the wax cycle, it's about useless. Dry with old bath towels or chamois (this'll start a debate). I grew up in Buffalo NY and went to the selfserve every week in the winter to change the salt. After a week of commuting my midnight blue car was white!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Arm and Hammer Baking Soda on a wet soft sponge will usually take bugs off. You can also buy bug and tar remover at the autoparts store; I think mine is made by Turtlewax. Touchless washes generally advertize as such. A selfserve wand wash works well, especially if you take a wash mitt and a bucket with you. NEVER use dishwashing soap, etc. it strips the wax and leaves the car dull. Just bring enough quarters for at least two cycles and go when there's no line so noboby complains about you hogging the booth. I say mitt, I think the wooly mitts or wash things are better than a sponge and less likely to scratch. Feed it money, soap it up, spray some in the bucket; when it stops, go over it with the mitt, then feed it more money and rinse. Skip the wax cycle, it's about useless. Dry with old bath towels or chamois (this'll start a debate). I grew up in Buffalo NY and went to the selfserve every week in the winter to change the salt. After a week of commuting my midnight blue car was white!
hehe... thanks for the info. I couldn't find any touchless washes near me so I'll have to go to the self wash things (except in the winter).

http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=235555

^My sticky.

You might look into something called "Optimum No Rinse" wash. I didn't like it, but you might not have another choice.

http://www.amazon.com/32oz-Optimum-Rinse-Wash-Shine/dp/B000E9TS6O
The 'no rinse' looks like it'll work for me. Something's better than nothing so I bought it just now :) Now to buy myself a bucket and mf towels.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
^^ Thanks.

I did, finally, wash my car yesterday. This was the first time I ever washed a car by hand. It took me an hour and 10 minutes or something. :)

I used:
1. No Rinse Rise and Shine
2. Two 2.3gal buckets (bought them in Walmart. I shud've bought bigger ones)
3. Meguiar's Water Magnet towel
4. Meguiar's Microfiber Wash Mitt

The car turned out pretty well although there were a few spots I missed and also, a few things I wish I hadn't done.

The Water Magnet towel was quite wet by the time I finished half the car. Although there weren't many water spots, I think I shud probably buy a couple more microfiber cloths to dry the car. I also did catch, with the towel, a few spots I didn't wash so the towel got a little dirty.

There were a few spots where bugs hit the car that took a little work to get out and some small parts of them are still on the car. I'll get them next time. I still need to apply RainX to the windshield.

Once I get a hang of the washing, I will buy some wax and sealant and try to coat my car.

btw, cleaning the alloys at the end had the greatest effect on the look of the car. They were shining clean so it made the whole car look cleaner :p
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Purchased the following:
1. Poorboy's Ex-p Pure Sealant (BF Wet Diamond was too expensive)
2. Another Meguiar's Water Magnet (needed another one to dry my car)
3. Meguiar's Supreme Shine MF 3 pack (Zwipes not in stock on amazon)
4. Meguiar's EvenCoat Applicator 2 pack

Gonna try detailing this weekend. I wanna get a hang of it before the cold kicks in.
 

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BTW... if that towel doesnt work out for you or you wanna try something else, i HIGHLY recommend "Aqua Dry" towel...i got both of mine from Target...they come in different colors and hold water better then any other towel ive ever used....looks like THIS
 

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BTW... if that towel doesnt work out for you or you wanna try something else, i HIGHLY recommend "Aqua Dry" towel...i got both of mine from Target...they come in different colors and hold water better then any other towel ive ever used....looks like THIS
[thumb] I used the Meguiar's Water Magnet before and it seemed to work fine although, by the time I got to second half of the car, it was too damp and left a few streaks. That's the reason I bought the second one. If I knew about this Aqua Dry towel before, I would've taken it just to try it.

I'll definitely buy one if I drop by Target next time. Thanks
 

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I have a Water Magnet and they do soak up a lot of water. I have been washing my car at a coin operated wash and they have an old ringer to squeeze out the water.

The bug problem is nasty. I have used Meguiars Gold Class Bug and Tar Remover with microfiber towels. After they are cleaned off I wax the areas where I took the bugs were. No easy job. I try to make the area's where the bugs are going to hit as slick as possible before going on a trip.

A professional auto detailer recommended using different sponges, buckets, etc. for washing your wheels and paint surfaces. The reasoning is you get a lot more grime on the lower part of your car and brake dust on the wheels. By using the same sponges and towels on both surfaces you may be transferring the wheel grime and brake dust back onto your paint surface. Not a good thing.

To get some of the streaks off you can use Meguiars Ultimate Quick Detailer.

The Water Magnet and microfiber towels can be wash and dried in your washer and dryer. They come out looking like new and ready for your next car wash.
 

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If your going to polish/seal and wax i would recommend a clay bar kit to use over your car to remove all impurities in the paint and then seal/polish and wax it....

that's what i did and was very very surprised at the amount of dirt/grime/bug guts came off the car just after washing it. for 25 bucks its worth it.

I used Turtle waxes ICE caly bar kit. Mothers and Meguiars both have kits as well. ICE was the cheapest
 

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Discussion Starter #14
^^ Thanks for the suggestion. Gonna get one. Looks like I'll be spending way too much time on cleaning/washing/sealing my car's paint :p

On amazon, all three clay bar kits cost the same. What would you choose now? All 3 have good reviews.
Product details:
Meguiar's Clay Kit includes 2- 80 gram bars, clay lubricant, cleaner wax sample and microfiber towel ($15.94)
Turtle Wax Clay Kit includes ICE Liquid Clay, Clay Bar Lubricant and a 100g Clay Bar. ($15.99)
Mother's Clay Kit includes 2 clay bars, Showtime Instant Detailer, Microfiber towel ($14.99)

I wasn't really planning on waxing it. Was just gonna use the Poorboy's sealant. Not a good idea?

Thanks. btw, my focus' gas mileage increased a bit and I've been keeping track of it on fuelly. I'm trying to catch up with your mpg :p

I have a Water Magnet and they do soak up a lot of water. I have been washing my car at a coin operated wash and they have an old ringer to squeeze out the water.

The bug problem is nasty. I have used Meguiars Gold Class Bug and Tar Remover with microfiber towels. After they are cleaned off I wax the areas where I took the bugs were. No easy job. I try to make the area's where the bugs are going to hit as slick as possible before going on a trip.

A professional auto detailer recommended using different sponges, buckets, etc. for washing your wheels and paint surfaces. The reasoning is you get a lot more grime on the lower part of your car and brake dust on the wheels. By using the same sponges and towels on both surfaces you may be transferring the wheel grime and brake dust back onto your paint surface. Not a good thing.

To get some of the streaks off you can use Meguiars Ultimate Quick Detailer.

The Water Magnet and microfiber towels can be wash and dried in your washer and dryer. They come out looking like new and ready for your next car wash.
^^ I just started washing from the top and then do the wheels with the same mitt (wheels are the last things I washed and the mitt gets filthy).

I have more of a problem with the bird poop. Damn birds. Sits there until the weekend when I have time to wash the car.

I wash my car outside my apartment because I don't have covered parking. How long does it usually take you to complete the whole process. Washing, claying, polishing and waxing?
 

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I buy these:
http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Clay-2-p...2OWA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1311695787&sr=8-2

And then dilute this for lube:
http://www.amazon.com/Optimum-Rinse..._1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1311695812&sr=1-1

That bottle of ONR will last forever because you dilute it to use as lube and also as quick detailer. Better value for the money.

You can just use a sealant, no problem, but most people choose to top it with a wax for the beauty of it.

DO NOT let bird poop just sit there until the weekend. Bird poop is acidic so it will eat into your paint finish leaving marks behind. Grab a microfiber cloth and some quick detailer and remove it as soon as possible. Seriously, I had a couple of spots on my old car which were permanent bird spot etchings. Not good.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
^^ I use ONR to wash my car, like you suggested earlier in this thread. It seems to be working fine with the 2 bucket system and I do have the 32oz one so looks like I'll use that as clay lubricant.

I was planning on only doing the sealant for now because adding wax to the car would take me much longer after washing, claying and sealing the paint. I don't think I'm ready for that much yet as this will only be my 2nd time washing the car by hand :) I'll do it maybe after I get a hang of the other steps.

Does it matter which Quick Detailer it is? I saw the Meguiar's thing and it looks nice. I just need to be able to use it for quick cleaning like bird poop. Thanks :)

edit: Can i just use ONR even for the quick detailing?
 

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Doesn't really matter the kind of quick detailer.

You can (and I do) use ONR as a quick detailer. I put a little in a spray bottle and then fill it the rest of the way with water to dilute it. Spray on, wipe off.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
For now, I just bought the Meguiar's kit. It includes the detailer and the clay bars so I don't need to bother buying a different spray bottle and mixing ONR. I'll do that once this runs out. [thumb]
 

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For now, I just bought the Meguiar's kit. It includes the detailer and the clay bars so I don't need to bother buying a different spray bottle and mixing ONR. I'll do that once this runs out. [thumb]
that kit will work fine.

just make sure after you clay bar you polish/seal it right away
 

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Discussion Starter #20
that kit will work fine.
just make sure after you clay bar you polish/seal it right away
[thumb] will keep that in mind.

This thought just popped up in my mind. I probably won't be keeping the car past 3 years so, is it worth trying to keep your car shiny and detailed? The color wouldn't get dull in 3yrs even if I didn't detail it right?

I'll do the detailing anyway just because I love my car but that thought is kinda nagging me.
 
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